Leeds Takeover: Is the “Yorkshire Post” Backing the Wrong Horse? – by Rob Atkinson


Yorkshire Post: Nice headline, shame about the story

This bold headline in Tuesday’s edition of the YP was a scoop, surely.  Possible sensation.  Certainly an attention-grabber for anyone with the interests of Leeds United at heart.  Probably there would be interest further afield as well, for anything LUFC-related tends to make eyebrows raise and ears prick up, pretty much anywhere.  Love ’em or hate ’em – it’s very difficult to ignore Yorkshire’s Number One football club.  So this YP story looked like a sure-fire winner.  Only one problem.  The content of the article bore absolutely no relation to the headline, whatsoever.  There were no “first details”.  In fact, there were no details at all emerging from this meeting of Cellino and McDermott.  Nada, zip, zilch.  Nowt.  How perplexing.

What there was amounted to a rehash of several recycled, days-old, tired and weary semi-true factoids about United’s prospective new owner.  We could read – again – about his convictions for fraud.  The YP reckons they were both “spent” under English law and therefore would not be an impediment to Cellino’s passing of the League’s “fit and proper” test.  This conclusion seemed tinged with regret on the Yorkshire Post‘s part, but the raking-over of cold ashes continued nevertheless.  Fascinated, we were able to read – again – of how Cellino tried to sack McDermott and replace him with bosom buddy Gianluca Festa.  Yawn.  Heard it all before.  And we read – yet a-bloody-gain – that McDermott was reinstated during the 5-1 derby whopping of Huddersfield Town (some sources, including GFH, say that he was never actually sacked at all).  But again, we already knew about this, we’d known it all for ages.

And that was it – there was nothing more to this piece than a few reheated facts and rumours that were past their use-by date as long ago as last week.  What was the justification, we might well ask, for that rather misleading headline, appearing to promise at least some of the inside story around what actually passed between manager Brian and King-elect Massimo?   Ultimately, all there is to glean from this strange little article is that the Yorkshire Post appears to take a dim view of Signor Cellino and is thus moved to force-feed its readership a dubious diet of warmed-over snippets of an uncomplimentary nature.

The fact remains, after all, that Cellino is still quite likely to be Leeds United owner in the not-too-distant future.  And the Yorkshire Post, in common with any regional newspaper, surely has a vested interest in maintaining a mutually satisfactory working relationship with its local football clubs.  If it doesn’t, then it should have.  All of which begs the question – how does the YP imagine that a policy of repeated bitching about Cellino, under headlines purporting but failing to deliver new information – just how do they think this is going to assist them in establishing some sort of rapport with the imminent Cellino administration at the county’s foremost club?  It’s an odd sort of approach to the formation of professional and harmonious relations, to say the least.

If the YP have put all their eggs in the basket of earnestly hoping the Football League will somehow ditch Cellino, then that is one perilous and high-risk strategy.  There may well be a need for some frantic kissing-up mighty soon.  Perhaps, after all, they should adopt the Peter Lorimer tactic of heartily endorsing whoever seems likeliest to wield executive power in the near future – it seems to work for him, except insofar as his now-tattered “Legend” status with the fans is concerned.  It will be very interesting to see which direction the Yorkshire Post does take over the next few weeks, when this tangled situation – hopefully – gets sorted out one way or another.

Whatever course they opt for, it’s devoutly to be hoped that a newspaper with a long history of covering the slings and arrows of United’s outrageous fortunes can, in future, try to maintain some sort of link between headline and story.  Tuesday’s effort did them no credit at all, and many Leeds fans who rely on them heavily for updates on what the hell’s going on at Elland Road, will instead be wondering what the hell’s happened to journalistic standards at the YP.  The consensus on Facebook’s “Elite Dirty Leeds Group” – an eclectic mix of academics, nutters, deviants and cynics, bound together by an abiding passion for Leeds United – was that the YP had sold us a pup with this headline, and that the intention was to run a Cellino hatchet-job dressed up as a news article.  It’s hard to argue with that verdict.

Note to the YP: in future, chaps, if you’ve nowt new to say, perhaps it would be better just to say nowt.  There must surely be goings-on elsewhere you can usefully fill a few column inches with.  Filling them with your own jaundiced views on the soon-to-be-anointed King of LS11 is not a particularly bright idea.  Backing the wrong horse at this stage of the game is less bright still.

The fans need their local rag to keep tabs on things at Elland Road – so don’t let us down.  OK?

32 responses to “Leeds Takeover: Is the “Yorkshire Post” Backing the Wrong Horse? – by Rob Atkinson

  1. To be honest, I think the general YP/YEP readership hate Mr. ‘Cut & Paste’ Hay rather more than they do Signore Cellino. One reason might be because Mr. Hay and his (if you can call them that) journalistic cohorts failed/didn’t utter a single bad word against Mr. K. W. Bates but rather seem to like to stick the knife in Signore Cellino without much forethought.

    Perhaps Signore Cellino needs to take Mr. Hay our for a free curry, after all I think that’s his price.


  2. What makes the noted ‘article’ even more embarrassing, is that it was a direct copy and paste from the independent with one or two words added. I have long been of the opinion that the YP/YEP is just as bad as the daily mail when it comes to all things lufc. Even their match reports are copied and paste from Sky. And the sly use of the word -UPDATED after their headlines only relates to user comments, which are the only reason I still check their website.


  3. Something will always try to fill a vacuum, even garbage!


  4. I used to often from these far shores of New Zealand tap into the YP reports on my great club Leeds United hoping I would find an exclusive snippet from a publication very close to the doors at LS11.
    Sadly them days have long gone, I get more news from The Herald on my front door step in Auckland. Thank god for your blogs Rob, you keep an emigrant Bramley White very much in touch with the trials and tribulations of my beautiful club.


  5. I found the article a totally boring read like you said nothing new was disclosed
    The same really applied to the 6pm programme on radio leeds that I was persuaded to tune in to ,
    If there is nothing new to tell us I wish they would just leave it alone as it is just one long yawn.


  6. Not relevant they all do it to fill columns in papers. They all cut and paste and in depth journalism at this level is rare, unless someone rings in with leads they can follow. No one has any real news, so the option is for everyone to make up a list of historical issues or, in the case of the mail, invent something. I understand why people get upset with thou fog, but suggest they care less than Ken Bates! Not to worry, everyone will be celebrating soon and there will be loads to write about over the next few years. Newspapers have to survive as well you know!


    • It was the total lack of any relationship between headline and article that bugged me. And I KNOW the headline will have been a sub’s fault, but even so…


  7. Can’t argue with that Rob.
    YEP and others do it all the time.
    Sky sports is just as bad.
    As soon as Mr Cellino is conformed as the owner, the YEP will fall into line, as they did with Bates.
    Otherwise they will be banned from ER.
    In fairness to Mr Hay, Leeds United have told us nothing for some time now.
    It is either feast or famine!


  8. Kelly hxwhite

    Quality article full of truthful facts about something many thousands of Yorkshire are eager for news of. So fact 1 yep r in bed with the devil on this 1 the reveal all article was a smear campaign against cellino with no news about the meeting between him n McD nothing new about the takeover nothing new about owt


  9. Rob
    Could it be that you and all the others who seem to think that a convicted crook is a fit and proper person to run our great club are so blinded by his alleged £1.3m- not that he ever invested any of it into Cagliary- that you cannot see reality.
    I wonder how you will react to the article this mroning whereby the Football League are quite sensibly asking for further information on the source of his wealth.


  10. Don’t worry Cellino is coming HEADLINES will write themselves we are on the brink of something exciting folkes


  11. Hi, Rob. As usual, an interesting read. Beats me how you can come up with something to write about (even when there’s no breaking news) and yet the “professionals” at the YEP have to regularly resort to plagiarism, cut-and-paste journalism and second-hand opinions. Of course, there can’t always be breaking news to dominate the headlines (that’s the easy bit to report), but journalism is about finding something interesting to talk about, and then writing it in a polished and original way. If you can make the effort, why can’t they?
    On a related topic: I’ve tried without success to find the Facebook Group you mentioned. How do I find it, or is it a closed group?


  12. Bare faced cheek mate. Your headers are constantly misleading in a desperate attempt to get the punters in!


  13. fraud convictions as in more than one??? didn’t he win appeal against one conviction?? therefore 1 conviction… so 1 spent conviction.


  14. YEP smear tactics at work…wish they would ask about the role of Shaun administration Harvey and the FL role in football when it seems it is the Premiership that is calling the shots in the ruination of English football


  15. Counte Of Monte Fisto

    Rob, many people have already judged Cellino on the basis of the ‘2’ convictions, 1 of which isn’t actually a conviction because it was quashed on appeal. Still they mention the 2 convictions just to emphasise how crooked he is.
    Now I am not a Cellino apologist & I don’t like crooks but also I can’t stand how the YP/YEP fawned over Bates through his ‘reign’. Failing to get answers or even ask questions on the real issues, employing Lorimer as the PR man, they got on our side late when it was inevitable we would force him out.
    Now EVERY article they write about Cellino is negative from the headline down. They even did an interview with an ‘un-named’ Cagliari fan under the banner Cellino divides fan opinion & proceeded to put negative after negative forward from this 1 unnamed fan so no divided issue only negative.
    Cellino may be nuts, he may be a bit crooked, he may not be here for 50 years of investment but we don’t know. What we do know if their chums in GFH (who they have had an almighty love in with) can’t keep the club afloat any longer & no one else has the money to.
    The FL /FA have sanctioned the following people as fit & proper with ZERO delay, Ridsdale (numerous times), Antonov (pompy, extradited on fraud charges to Lithuania), Shinawatra ex Man City who was barred from entering the UK & numerous issues with him, Yeung (Birmingham) alleged money laundering with charges expected, Sisu (owners of Coventry) who practically destroyed the club with no intervention from the FL/FA. The list goes on & on & this is the obvious ones without covering the owners of Man Citeh Mansour is a member of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi a country with an extremely poor human right record. Ken Bates was passed despite previously taking companies into administration (Howarth, Irish Trust Bank). GFH were a struggling bank with losses & few assets but yep they were ok weren’t they. It allows ex jail birds to play without a by your leave, step forward rapist Marlon King, murderer Lee Hughes & a cast of many
    Yet, critically it takes a moral (not legal, by its own rules) stand against our potential new owner, why now why us?
    Could it have anything to do with who is now in place (Mr Harvey) a chance to get back at US (not him) for Bates attempt to get one over on them last admin. The only thing certain is WE the fans have nothing to gain by going into Admin (AGAIN) but perhaps they could really teach us a lesson in the FA/FL perhaps a hundred points deduction, perhaps thrown into the conference.


    • Brilliant analysis – thanks for that. Would love to hear the opinions of others. Should Cellino be regarded as any worse or indeed different to any of those mentioned??


  16. Reality Cheque

    Absolutely spot on analysis of all things Phil Hay and the YEP Rob. You can tell how much spare time I have on my hands waiting for this goddam takeover to happen by my painstakingly compiled definition of Phil Hay and the YEP below:


    Honour &


    Ok, so I will never have a career as a creative writer/journalist, and it did only take a couple of minutes Rob so keep your posts coming to fill the void whilst we await the arrival of our new owner !! MOT


  17. The YEP seem to take great delight in insulting it’s readers. For a start they persist with that peter lorimer column despite the protests from us Leeds supporters. You think a paper that prints opinion polls relating to LUFC issues would at least heed those opinions. Same with the Brendan Ormsby “Leeds legend” thing. I hope he makes a speedy and full recovery and all that, but he’s not a Leeds legend. Incidentally, Jack Ashurst made 93 appearances to Ormsbys 51 and i’m yet to hear the word legend in relation to big J. Almost every other regional newspaper would be campaigning and forcing the hand of the local football team board,but you’d think the YEP feed old information into a computor and the articles are produced without the need for human intervention. The trouble is that sources of info are scarce and the alternatives ie twitter(or world of cretins) don’t bare thinking about. Unless of course you really need to know that some bimbo is going horse riding and skating(seriously,on the waccoe site last week) or you want to read the latest variation of the shaun harvey/socks remark. YEP sack hay and lorimer then stop insulting Ormsby by calling him a legend.


  18. Oh and one more thing-at least we know Cellino is a crook before he takes over,instead of finding out too late as we did with ridsdale and bates. Also unlike those two,at least Cellino paid for his fraudulent behaviour.


  19. This shadowy Leeds United Elite group sounds good….


  20. David Smith

    Rob – on balance I agree with most of what has been said regarding Phil Hay and in particular the apparent lack of any journalistic interigation during the middle to end of the Bates era. I do however think that his heart is in the right place as far as Leeds United is concerned and tend to glean more from his Bootroom interviews and his Twitter feeds, than what he writes in the YEP.
    As others have already said, the YP & YEP would no doubt benefit from some regular contributions from yourself.


    • That’s very kind of you, but I fear I’d find it difficult to express myself under journalistic restrictions. As it is, I sail pretty close to the wind sometimes but, happily, I’m too obscure to be sued 😉


  21. Massimo employs a lot of people! and his daughter is fit! he’s a character, that’s what Leeds needs like the good old days i.e. when Cantona shxgged Big Lee’s missus.


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